Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
Although Dubrovnik attracts millions of tourists every year it has struggled to bring world famous stores and boutiques to the city. Now comes news, although unconfirmed, that one of the most important designer names will open a boutique in the historic Old City.
Armani will open a boutique on the main street, the Stradun, this spring. It is believed that the shop will be opposite the Festival cafe and two floors of a building have been rented. Along with Armani the boutique will also include the brand Michael Kors.
The cruise ship season in Dubrovnik opened today with the arrival this morning of the Norwegian cruise ship Viking Star. At 7.30am this morning Viking Star docked in the Port of Dubrovnik and will leave this evening at 8pm and head towards Split.
Viking Star is 228 metres long and has a capacity of 930 passengers. This isn’t the only cruise ship expected this week, the ship “Athens” will also arrive and Viking Star will return on Sunday.
The picturesque island of Korcula is, according to the popular German magazine Hörzu, the most beautiful island in the world.
This German magazine has declared Korcula as an absolute hit this year and recommends its readership to visit. This is not the first praise for Korcula in the international press, magazines and newspapers such as Conde Nast Traveller, Travel & Leisure and National Geographic have all featured the island near Dubrovnik.
Korcula beat off some impressive competition to finish on the top of Hörzu's list; the Maldives, the Seychelles and Bora Bora were all placed below Korcula.
“Well you will need more than just one,” echoed my mother’s voice. “No, one will be just enough for the two of us,” I replied. We were talking over a video call, ah the wonders of modern technology; I can see and talk to my mother on my mobile phone. I still get excited when I hear from friends in Australia or the US over the phone, let alone a video call with my mother.
“You will need five or six to have enough to make two drinks,” she replied. I was making a lemon juice in front of my mother…just in case you hadn’t already guessed what I was doing.
“And why are you taking those oranges,” she asked. It wasn’t an orange; it was a real lemon, a home-grown lemon. I can’t blame her for thinking it was an orange, it was the size of a small baby's head! “This is what a lemon should look like,” I said whilst cutting the monster lemon in half. The aromas as it feel apart was mouth watering. “And with real lemons like this one is enough,” I added.
Of course my mother was right, if I were using those plastic lemons that you find on the shelves of most supermarkets I would have needed half a dozen to make a lemon juice. But these weren’t artificial lemons; these were grown on my neighbour’s tree, monster Zupa lemons! Think skinned, full of juice and jammed packed with vitamin C. What was the real value of this lemon? I don’t mean necessarily in financial terms. How are we not exporting these whopper lemons to the whole world?
Almost every cooking show that I bump into on the television is talking about the value of natural produce. And yet we continue to import plastic lemons from all over the world, shouldn’t we be doing the exact opposite.
I bumped into a top international chef the other day and for an hour he praised the quality of our citrus fruits. “I don’t think in all my years that I have tried such delicious and high quality lemons and oranges,” was the phrase that constantly flowed from his mouth. Of course it isn’t only lemons, Istrian olive oil has just been voted the best in the world, Croatian wines are picking up awards at every turn and cheeses from the region are celebrating success. And yet, for some reason, we continue to import cheap crap that has been produced in a laboratory somewhere. It is beyond me...is it just the price? Somewhere we have lost the real value of the things we produce.
And in some cases not produce. The amount of fruit that is left to fall from the trees, or is feed to pigs, is mindboggling. “I can’t find anyone to help me take the apples to market,” explained a man in Konavle to me last year. Trees upon trees loaded down with succulent apples spread out in front of us, it was heartbreaking to think that these would be left to fall to the ground and eventually be consumed by the earth again. And he couldn’t find help to take the apples to the market; I don’t blame him, far from it, it is the fault of society. We are more than happy to consume bucket loads of tablets, work out in gyms, rub strange oils on our bodies and drink “healthy” cocktails produced by scientists. The answer to most of these ails can be found much closer to home.
This man’s apples are sold for extortionate prices in European capitals, it cheaper to buy champagne, and yet we leave them to fall to the ground. And then look at all the fields that are empty. Guaranteed sunshine, rich soil and a source of fresh clean water are the keys to good produce. We have all that and yet are still growing grass! Madness!
“I am surprised that there isn’t more fruit grown here, from lemons to figs and pomegranates,” added the chef. “You have all the right conditions for success,” he concluded. How could I argue? Every centimetre of every field should be bursting with life...but no...we grow grass.
I have just taken delivery of ten kilos of lemons and eight litres of olive oil, all grown locally. I would have had to remortgage my house to buy this in London. Well firstly I couldn’t even buy it in London even if I wanted to; it just isn’t on the market.
“I told you one would be enough,” I said to my mother as the monster lemon in front of me disintegrated into a lake of juice. “Well that’s cheating,” she replied. “You aren’t using real lemons, that is some kind of hybrid lemon, they shouldn’t be that big,” she added. I beg to differ.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison,” said the author Ann Wigmore.
Another international airline has announced more flights to Croatia, and Dubrovnik, for this summer season. Air Berlin has drastically increased the number of flights to Croatia for 2016. The second largest airline in Germany will fly to Dubrovnik, Zadar, Rijeka, Pula and Split throughout the summer of 2016.
In 2015 Air Berlin had around 6,000 seats on sale for Croatia destinations, this year that number has increase to a massive 92,000 seats. Dubrovnik will be served with flights from Dusseldorf and Berlin, with flights starting on the 13th of May and landing once a week, every Saturday.
Air Berlin commented in a press release that “Increasing numbers of tourists are discovering Croatia as a holiday destination. The country on the Adriatic coast boasts a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Old Town of Dubrovnik.”
Flights are already available to purchase on Air Berlin’s website.
Dubrovnik has once again found itself in the centre of the world media. One of the most popular newspapers in the UK “The Times” has featured a full-page article on cruising in the Adriatic Sea. The weekend issue of The Times has a circulation of around 300,000 copies, more fantastic advertising in one of the city’s most important markets.
The article entitled “Small, friendly and laid-back, welcome to the boutique Adriatic cruise,” highlights Dubrovnik and the island of Korcula as well as other Croatian Adriatic destinations.
The latest Dubrovnik promotional video has been awarded at the ITB Tourism fair in Berlin with a silver medal. The new video, which was commissioned by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, was recorded in 2015 and the Zagreb based “Balducci Films,” produced the video.
The director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlasic, picked up the second place award for the video at the fair in Berlin, one of the most important travel exhibitions in Europe. This new promotional film for Dubrovnik found itself in strong competition for the award, a total of 1,500 films from forty countries were entered into the competition.
Check out this latest stunning promotional video of Dubrovnik
Star Wars VIII is in full swing in Dubrovnik and The Dubrovnik Times have got our hands on an exclusive video of a behind the scenes action scene from the movie.
This video was sent to us by Courtney Gacek an American tourist who presumably stumbled onto the filming of a stunt scene in the historic old city of Dubrovnik. Her reaction at the end of the video, “oh, my God!” shows her surprise at walking onto the set.
Star Wars VIII started filming on the 9th of March in Dubrovnik, with the first two days being set ups and rehearsals, and will continue until the 16th of March. The leading actors arrived in Dubrovnik yesterday and Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, was spotted filming on a well-known Dubrovnik beach.
It is rumored that Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, will not be coming to Dubrovnik however her “body double” has arrived in Dubrovnik and she might well be filming the shoots from this video in the Star Wars VIII.